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Environment and Energy


The University is committed to reducing its carbon emissions from energy use and  becoming carbon neutral from energy use by 2050. On the 18 October, the Environment and Energy Section is launching an exciting new initiative to support the University in achieving these commitments.

The Cambridge Carbon Challenge is a competition inviting staff and students to submit their ideas for reducing building energy use and associated carbon emissions (Scope 1 and 2 emissions) across the University estate.

The competition is a joint initiative by the Living Laboratory for Sustainability and the Energy and Carbon Reduction Project (ECRP). It aims to harness academic expertise and operational experience from across the University that will help us to improve our environmental performance and increase our capacity to reduce carbon.  It will give participants the opportunity to collaborate with others from across the University, develop project management skills, receive mentoring from experts, and gain experience in developing a business case.

Possible projects could look at ways to achieve efficient utilisation of space or changes in behaviour; the efficiency of plug-in equipment; methods for equipment and resource sharing; or how buildings can become more efficient; to name a few.

How will the Carbon Challenge work?

There are two main stages to the Carbon Challenge. 

The first stage will involve presenting your team’s proposed project to a judging panel at the end of Michaelmas term. Teams will also need to produce a 1-2 page summary of their proposal (a template will be provided). Successful teams will move onto the second stage.

The second stage, for those teams shortlisted by the panel, will involve producing a full business case to submit by late March 2017. Those projects which are approved will be funded through ECRP and taken forward for implementation by Estate Management.

The competition will conclude with a final event, in which successful projects will be presented and the overall winning team is selected.

How to get involved

Read the brief; this tells you everything you need to know. If you have any questions at all, email

Form a team*. 

Register by 1 November by completing this form.

Put 10 November in your diary - there will be a drop-in clinic for you to come and discuss your proposal and gain advice, suggestions, useful contacts - to give you the best chance of success.

*If you are looking for team members, email by 25 October then we can link you up with interested others.


  • Teams must be made up of between 3-6 people who are working for or studying at the University (evidenced by having a University ID card).
  • Teams should aim for diversity in their membership (e.g. a mixture of operational and academic staff, a spread of academic disciplines, combination of staff and students etc.)
  • Teams should aim to have at least one postgraduate member if possible.
  • Teams should aim to work with an academic member of staff and their research if relevant to the nature of their proposal.

The full briefing, timeline, process and criteria for proposals is available for download here.

If you have any queries, please email